Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Fairgrounds plan needs overhaul

Editor,

I’m a liberal Democrat. I believe in government and taxes and in helping those less fortunate. I don’t believed in conspiracy theories.

I oppose the new Fairgrounds Strategic Plan. A long-range plan is needed, however is it necessary to spend $10 million building an event center when the strategic plan seems to indicate that $8 million would need to be generated annually in income, when routine county maintenance, better fairgrounds management and usage might be more appropriate? Won’t 249,000 more annual visitors to Langley negatively impact our lives and the ferry?

Why did the recent public “presentation” at the fairgrounds change to a comment forum? Why were the details of this 115-page plan glossed over? Did the organizers just want to diffuse public dissent? Why did the opposition have to advertise for the meeting?

The icing on the cake, however, is that written comments taken at the meeting will not be used to modify the plan before its presentation to the Island County commissioners.  Comments will only be attached to the new plan when it’s presented in its original form to the board in April.

Why should the steering committee leaders care about my opinion? I just scrape and paint county property so that barn exhibitors animals don’t eat the peeling paint. I only put aside my job, hobbies and life for several very intense days known as the fair to volunteer, so families can see sheep sheared or learn to spin wool into yarn.

I have nothing to gain by opposing this fairgrounds plan, no aspirations for public office, no monetary gain. I do stand to lose my free time, my peace of mind and the good memories that I associate with county fairs starting with my grandfather, a Future Farmers of America leader.

Time does not stand still. Fairgrounds change and evolve. But perhaps we’d be better served with a plan that honors the history of this property by reuse, repurposing and renovating rather than reimagining.

Thank you to the steering committee members that listened at Wednesday’s meeting. As for the others, if you ask for the community’s opinions, do try to act like you care.

WENDY SUNDQUIST

superintendent,

open sheep barn

Whidbey Island Area Fair

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